Friday, March 31, 2006

This Semester Has Kicked My Butt

Only three weeks left and I can't wait until it's over. I was walking across campus the other day and ran into another teacher who asked, "Are your students getting as lazy as mine?" And indeed they are, but the truth is, so are we. I, in fact, am writing this during class while I have all my students working on their web pages. Apparently, I have done all the teaching I'm going to do this semester.

I have four writing classes this semester, which really isn't that big a deal because I almost always have four writing classes even though everyone agrees four writing classes is probably two too many. Plus, two of them are classes new to me, so I have all new preps added to the two classes I have done before. For those non-teachers out there, trust me, four classes and three preps is a lot of work. Not to mention the grading, the grading, the grading, the endless endless grading ...

All of this while struggling with a multitude of bureaucracies including, but not limited to, two separate insurance companies, two mortgage companies, FEMA, the electric company, the water company, the USPS, as well as a multitude of city and state departments of this, that, and the other, all of which want stacks of paperwork signed in tripiclate and stamped and dated and verified and endorsed and notarized. My life has been reduced to a constant struggle against red tape in an immense bureacracy I can't even begin to understand. I am K.

Meanwhile, the almost-not-metaphorical Sword of Damocles at Loyola is preparing to descend. The scuttlebutt around here is that in the next two or three weeks the great "re-organization" plan shall be announced, and the next round of lay-offs shall begin. Word is, they plan on dumping entire programs, and nobody seems to know just what will happen with non-tenure track faculty like me. So in the next couple of weeks I could be told I'm out of a job. Again. It's really hard to motivate myself to grade and teach and all that stuff when I've spent the entire semester at least half-convinced I'm about to be let go.

All of which is a really long way of saying I'm sorry I haven't been updating this blog as much as I would like. I'm way behind on adding links and pictures, not to mention responding to comments, which I really appreciate, or acknowledging all those out there who apparently read this (yes, I have a counter and yes, I'm pretty surprised at the numbers - hi everyone! And thanks!) and there is a whole host of things I've been meaning to write about.


So, yeah, this semester has kicked my butt, and as much as I have actually loved my classes, I'm so done, though really, it's not the classes that have kicked my butt, it's all the other stuff. Unfortunately, classes actually have a end point, while it seems that the rebuilding bureacracy just stretches on endlessly into the future, never to end, so I'm in this weird position of looking forward to end of something good so I can concentrate on dealing with the crap.


But enough self-pity - at least I'll have more time to blog.


Sophmom said...

Katrina fatigue. Not the kind the newscasters talk about, but the real thing. The semester hasn't kicked your butt, the hurricane and the flood have. I'm sorry. I also know that's easy for me to say, sitting up here in Atlanta, and even easier 'cause you're not teaching my son this semester, although if you make it through the re-org, God willing and the creek don't rise (so to speak), one day you likely will, since he's majoring in what you teach.


I don't know how ya'll have done it. I think the the universities operating in the city of New Orleans are staffed and attended by heroes. I wrote about it, filled with anger and pride, last January.

I hope it works out for the best for you, whatever is to come, and I really hope my son's program (your program) isn't cut. It is sad to watch the end of historic Newcomb College at Tulane, and I'm sure that's only the beginning if the schools are to survive.

I guess there's nothing left to do but just keep writing. Good luck.

Emmy said...

if they get rid of you don't worry, i'll kick some butt and get you back. yeah, K-day isn't an accurate description... it's K-year, K-lifetime it feels like. Many people within (and those unfortunately still outside New Orleans) have all aged 10 years it seems. Funny thing is, I think that the horrible K-day will always feel like yesterday, like I can reach out and still touch it on the pillow next to mine, like it will always still have that overbearing grip around my throat.

don't worry about your classes, we'll take care of ourselves. go get a beer and kick back.

Kate said...

Dale, this is perhaps the only legitimate, "I've been too busy to post sorry about that," post ever written. Including the last post I managed to get up at Stick and String. I enjoy reading your blog no matter how frequent the postings. Good luck in the coming weeks.

Dominic and I are always thinking of you.

Sophmom said...

Well, I've just read the Strategic Plan and it looks to me like your program is safe (I think) but I was really sorry to see the loss of the Comm. Studies program. It appears that there will be a period for input, which is good, and in Fr. Wildes letter there is mention of a blog by tomorrow for public comments, which is also good. This has got to be hard. All of it just keeps being hard. My son is coming home for Easter for the first time since January. I am interested in talking through this with him.

Sophmom said...

Oops... you're a writing teacher. Yikes! That should have been "...Father Wildes' letter..."! ;)

Dale said...

Thank you, everyone. Only a couple of weeks to go (counting finals), and what a hell of a week this last one has been.
Oh, and if I went back and checked my grammar on here the way I check my students', I would no doubt be mortified. Which is why I don't, so don't sweat it, Sophmom. :)